KEITH Southern has described the clash with Bolton as the biggest game in the Seasiders history.
The midfielder is pulling no punches about the importance of Saturday’s showdown – put simply, he reckons there’s never been as much at stake.
The 1953 FA Cup final victory may remain the most famous win of all time, but when it comes to financial gain and the long-term security of the club, nothing can match what rides on this weekend’s 90 minutes.
Anything other than three points, Southern believes, and Pool are likely to find themselves back in the Championship next season.
“The Bolton game is going to be the biggest in the club’s history, bigger than Wembley, bigger than anything we’ve experienced in the last few years,” he said.
“I’m not sure how good a point will be. It probably wouldn’t be any good to us really, because basically we are running out of games, so it is must-win.
“Ideally, we get the three points Saturday.
“Then we go to Manchester United on the last day, anything you get from there is a bonus. So if we can get that win this Saturday, it will give the lads a massive boost going into the last day.”
Saturday’s 12.45pm showdown is a sell-out, for what is the first top-flight meeting between the clubs at Bloomfield Road since 1964.
Southern says the fans have a crucial role to play. He said: “Our supporters have been different class for us all season.
“At Spurs they were unbelievable. It costs a lot of money to get to London but they turned up in their numbers for the umpteenth time this season, and the atmosphere was great.
“They backed us superbly, and we’re just sorry we couldn’t get the win they deserved and that we as a team probably deserved.
“We were at Tottenham from the word go. We put a massive shift in and just couldn’t hang on, which has been the story of our season really.
“But it’s still all to play for. We’d have taken this at the start of the season, a point from safety with two games to go.”
Southern believes victory against Bolton is achievable but he has warned that it will be far from easy.
“We can’t guarantee a win because Bolton are a very good side,” he said.
“But what we can guarantee is if we play as well as we did at Tottenham, then we’ll be in the game right until the final whistle and we’ll have opportunities, and that is all you can ask.
“They are dangerous, there’s no doubt about that.
“Dean Sturridge has been on fire, Kevin Davies is a handful if he’s fit, and they’ve got real physical presence in midfield – Fabrice Muamba is a big lad who puts himself about.
“They are a really tough, established Premier League team, and if we don’t turn up, they’ll roll us over.
“Teams in this division do that – if you aren’t totally at it, they’ll beat you comfortably.
“But since Wigan, when we were awful, we’ve played at a high tempo and got after teams. So we’ve got to be at it from the word go.
“The crowd will be up for it and we’ll give it our best shot and see where it takes us.
“Hopefully we can nick first goal because I think that will be absolutely vital.”
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